Waymo opens up its driverless taxi service to the general public in Phoenix


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Why it matters: Waymo has been testing out its driverless taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona, for months now. Today, however, the Google subsidiary hit a significant milestone. Moving forward, Waymo will offer driverless rides to the general public in Phoenix -- not just early beta testers.

If you're a Phoenix resident who would like to take one of Waymo's self-driving taxis out for a spin, you might have to wait a couple weeks. The company is taking its time with the service's public rollout, so it will probably be a few weeks before everyone can hop on the autonomous taxi train.

With that said, you can prepare yourself for the opportunity to try it out by downloading the Waymo Early Access app on the iOS App Store or Android's Google Play Store. Once Waymo fully opens its driverless service to all app users, you'll be able to go for a ride.

Doing so will cost you a few bucks, but we're unsure exactly what sort of pricing structure Waymo is using here.

Naturally, the Covid-19 pandemic might give some potential riders pause. However, it's worth noting that there will be no safety drivers in the vehicle as you ride around, and after every trip, the car you traveled in will be thoroughly disinfected by Waymo's safety team before it's dispatched to another passenger.

In other words, Waymo is doing all it can to safely scale up its driverless taxi service, so your risk of contracting Covid-19 from a ride should be relatively low. If you do give the service a try, let us know how it goes in the comments.

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"and after every trip, the car you traveled in will be thoroughly disinfected by Waymo's safety team"

Sure, not having a driver in the vehicle with you will mitigate one way you might get infected. That said, as far as "thoroughly disinfecting" any vehicle -- how feasible is that really? I'm not an expert in the involved fields but I feel like any vehicle has a lot of surfaces, some of which are not easy to sterilize, and also has a lot of airflow ducting that is not accessible without disassembly.

I've been in rental cars where the previous driver was a smoker. Every time the rental car company says they "thoroughly cleaned the car." And every time, once whatever masking perfume they used to cover it up wears off, I smell smoke remnants.

Uncle Al

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I can see them injecting a mild disinfectant into the cabin via a self contained system between riders and add UV elements to the air circulating system as well but the big thing that is missing is the COST! Give us some idea of what this puppy will cost and will it be by the mile, flat trip charge, or what?????